Normcore is Still Misunderstood

Back in October 2013, K-Hole gave the fashion industry a new word to play around with: normcore. It’s been more than six months since it was born, and a lot of people still have absolutely no idea what it means.

The LA Times labeled it as an “a la carte, mix-and-match, label-agnostic approach to fashion.” They said that it’s a conscious effort to look effortless.

A fashion photographer based in New York said that the fashion industry wants “the cool kids downtown on a dirty couch in tube socks” thing. It seems as though normcore has made it possible for just about anyone to be a fashion model.

 But the NY Times gave three definitions of normcore. And the third one is the one that caught my attention. An internet meme that turned into a massive in-joke that the news media keeps falling for. Damn. I just fell for it as well.

The style, which I think has been appropriately described as “dressing like a tourist,” has become the ultimate fashion statement. It has also become the ultimate joke.

Or has it?

The concept began in Brooklyn and spread rapidly. It was considered the way to stand out in Bushwick in 2014 – a pair of New Balance sneakers and Jerry Seinfeld jeans.

And even though it started in Brooklyn, it’s spread across the nation. Lucky has offered a normcore shopping guide. And now, it’s becoming a huge movement in France.

K-Hole, the originator of the term, didn’t want it to be a fashion trend; instead, it was supposed to represent a broader sociological attitude. Alternative types were spending too much energy trying to define themselves as individuals that they lost the joy of belonging to a group. K-Hole envisioned something different.

“You might not understand the rules of football, but you can still get a thrill from the roar of the crowd at the World Cup,” K-Hole’s report read.

Lauren Sherman, a writer for, calls the whole movement a fraud. She described it as dressing like an uncool dad from the ‘90s. Adults who were teenagers during the Seinfeld age, Sherman wrote, recall the white sneakers and ill-fitting jeans.

The backlash, however, seemed to reinforce the trend. Now, six months later, it’s still on the rise. So go into your dad’s closet and grab some jeans. They probably won’t fit well.


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